Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is it time to change the Constitution?

Is it time to change the U.S. Constitution?

It's something to think about. For most Americans, even the thought of this is traitorous. Yet, we've revised it twenty-seven times with amendments. So, times do change, and when you consider the original was written with the consideration of a few united States and a few representatives, with expectations of the U.S. growing, there was no way the Founding Fathers could have foreseen appropriately what we would turn into, or what we would be dealing with, not to mention, how new technologies and World Politics would be changing.
Idealized Artist's view of the signing the US Constitution

If they could have foreseen these things, considering how well they have done already with their actual foresight, how amazing could things have been up to this point. Many of the things we deal with now were in place back then, World politics, commerce, considerations for Human Rights, etc.

But have things changed that much that we need at least a few more revisions, or a rewrite?

Don't worry, I don't think we should rewrite it. Still, it is a consideration we should at least think about, as that can give us the insight as to where to make changes, and what we may need to do now.
Iceland's Althing parliament

Consider Iceland. They have the oldest continuous parliament in the world. Their Althing or Alþingi, is the oldest one still in use, was formed in 930 by Vikings. Although, the Isle of Man has the oldest continuous parliament in the world. The Althing, the Icelandic parliament, is older, but it did not function for a number of years, so it is not the oldest continuous government.Some dispute that, as for 45 years they did not function. So let's review that oldest claim just for fun.

Wikipedia: "Tynwald is usually said in the Isle of Man to be the oldest parliament in continuous existence in the world, having been established by 979 (though its roots may go back to the late 9th century as the thing of Norse raiders not yet permanently resident on the island) and having continued to be held since that time without interruption.  Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles.
Faroese Løgting- Outside

"There are other parliaments which are undoubtedly older but these have not had a continuous existence. The Icelandic Alþingi was established in 930 but abolished in 1800 and not re-founded until 1845.

Faroese Løgting - in se

The Faroese Løgting is believed to be older than both Tynwald and Alþingi, having been established as early as the 9th century and recorded as an annual assembly in the 10th century. San Marino, a country situated on the Italian peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains, also claims that its parliament dates from AD 301, making it several centuries earlier than the claims of the Norse assemblies. Tynwald's claim to have continuous existence as a legislative body is disputed. From the 11th to the 15th centuries, Tynwald was arguably a judicial court and did not create legislation."

That now behind us, I think we can agree, Iceland's been around for a time. They last updated their constitution in 1947, now they think enough has changed that they need to do it again. They are staying vital in their government. They are essentially rewriting their constitution, asking their 350,000 citizens on Facebook what should go into this new constitution.

I'm thinking Fareed Zakaria was right today in asking, do we need another new constitution. If so, why, and how does it need to be changed? He has asked his viewers to suggest three changes. On the other hand, consider American's track record in making good decisions in recent years, I shudder to think if we allowed our citizens to rewrite the Constitution, what nonsense they would put into it, what with their feeling so entitled to anything they want.

I have to say, am so glad we have what we have in place now and that it was written at a time when we paid more attention to what needs to be done for the long term. I get the feeling now a days that even when we do make long term decisions, we only THINK they are long term but in reality their duration is only a few years, or decades, not the long haul.

Not to mention, if only those in positions of power would give us back what we have lost over the years. Do you realize how many in congress don't know what is in the constitution if you ask them?

So, what do you think? Is it time? What would you choose to add? What three things would you add to the

I don't know if we really need to change our constitution, but we certainly need some changes put in place. The problem I feel though, is that if we make any changes, they will end up being the wrong ones. So maybe it's best to leave well enough alone and simply continue to limp along, happy, fat, and ignorant.

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